Port of Civitavecchia
We will be traveling soon, a cruise on the Azamara Pursuit, to seven coastal cities around Italy. We will fly to Rome and board the cruise ship at Civitavecchia.
Therefore, I have homework; a refresher course on geography and the weather, deciding what to pack and wear; and what to see at each port.
I have also found it helpful to read novels set in our travel location and previously read “Under the Tuscan Sun,” by Frances Mayes, and found one by my favorite author, Alexander McCall Smith. He is known for the “The #1 Ladies Detective Agency” series featured on PBS.
The title, “My Italian Bulldozer”, grabbed my attention, and when the main character, Paul, describes Tommy, the man his significant other ran off with, as a tattooed MESOMORPH, I knew Tommy had a fat neck before viewing the Kindle definition; a compact person with muscular body build.
Alexander McCall Smith transforms the mundane with insight, i.e. “the past has a bigger shadow than people believe,” and Paul takes off for Tuscany. I am hoping to get an education about Italian wine.
Northern Italians are fair, and that is why my mother says I have blonde hair; her side of the family, the De Salvo’s, were from there. My husband says I am not really Italian.
The first port will be Amalfi, then Sorrento,; Taormina, Brindisi, Trieste and final port, Venice.
Really Italian, or not, growing up, we thought we were.
On Saturdays, my grandfather, Achilles DeSalvo, would take the train from the Bronx to Long Island, wearing a sharkskin suit, a pressed handkerchief in his breast pocket, shoes with a spit shine, and hat, arriving around noon. After lunch he sat in the living room to read the newspaper and smoke a cigar. We gathered at his feet and watched his manicured hands unwrap the cigar then present the cigar band as a ring to one of us. Next, a Mounds bar was divided into four parts for all to share. After reading the newspaper, he phoned his bookie.
We called our grandfather Pop-Pop and and the only Italian that past his lips were the words aspetta, meaning wait and capisci, asking, do you understand? Other than his sharkskin suit, he wore, pajamas, or a guinea t-shirt with his trousers. His father, Alfonso DeSalvo, came to America from Abruzzi, to be an American, owned a tailor shop in Manhattan, and English was spoken in their home.
I may not be that Italian, but have a real Italian name, Claudia Chianese. My husband’s family came from Naples, my best guess is from Casamiccola. There were many Antonio Chianeses sailing from Naples, or the equivalent of looking for John Smith in the USA, it has been difficult to know for sure.
Aspetta, our cruise will end in Venice, capisci?
. . . . just saying